This article is about the genus of fish. For other uses, see Perch (disambiguation).
"Perches" redirects here. For the commune in Haiti, see Perches, Nord-Est.
"The Perch" redirects here. For the pub in Binsey, Oxfordshire, see The Perch (Binsey).
Yellow perch (Perca flavescens)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Superclass: Osteichthyes
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Neopterygii
Infraclass: Teleostei
Order: Perciformes
Family: Percidae
Genus: Perca
Linnaeus, 1758
Type species
Perca fluviatilis
Linnaeus, 1758

Perch is a common name for fish of the genus Perca, freshwater gamefish belonging to the family Percidae. The perch, of which there are three species in different geographical areas, lend their name to a large order of vertebrates: the Perciformes, from the Greek perke, simply meaning perch, and the Latin forma meaning shape. Many species of freshwater gamefish more or less resemble perch, but belong to different genera. In fact, the exclusively saltwater dwelling red drum is often referred to as a red perch, though by definition perch are freshwater fish. Though many fish are referred to as perch as a common name, to be considered a true perch, the fish must be of the family Percidae.

The type species for this genus is the European perch, Perca fluviatilis.


Most authorities recognize three species within the perch genus:


The general body type of a perch is somewhat long and rounded. True perch have "rough" or ctenoid scales. On the anterior side of the head are the maxilla and lower mandible for the mouth, a pair of nostrils, and two lidless eyes. On the posterior sides are the opercula, which protect the gills, and the lateral line system, which is sensitive to vibrations in the water. They have paired pectoral and pelvic fins, and two dorsal fins, the first one spiny and the second soft. These two fins can be separate or joined.


Perch are carnivorous fish most commonly found in small ponds, lakes, streams, or rivers. These fish feed on smaller fish, shellfish, or insect larvae, but can be caught with nearly any bait. They commonly spawn during the spring, when the females lay strings of eggs in covered areas such as near branches or underwater plants. Perch have a wide distribution throughout the world, and are very plentiful in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Erie.


Perch are popular sport fish species. They are known to put up a fight, and to be good eating. They can be caught with a variety of methods, including float fishing, lure fishing and legering. The best way is to use a small hook and cast into the weeds just before the drop off. When fishing with bait, the angler will want to have a disgorger; perch are notorious for swallowing the hook, and will need aid of a disgorger or forceps for unhooking. In many parts of the world, they are also a favourite species among ice fishermen. They will take a variety of baits, including minnows, worms, maggots, goldfish, pieces of raw bacon, and softshell crayfish, but seem to prefer small fish, lobworms, red maggots, and lures. Fly fishing for perch using patterns that imitate small fry or invertebrates can be successful. The record weight for this fish in Britain is 6 lb 3 oz (2.81 kg), and in America 6 lb 4 oz (2.83 kg).

Perch grow to around 5 lb (2.3 kg) or more, but the most common fish to be caught are around 1 lb (0.45 kg) or less, and anything over 2 lb (0.91 kg) is considered a prize catch.

Perch have often formed a critical part of the total weight caught by an angler during a competition. In 2016 it was recorded that angler Ross Winfield failed to weigh a perch during a competition that cost him a top 5 place (often called 'framing' on the UK match fishing circuit). Unfortunately, he later found the perch in his keep net.

In the aquarium

As the Perch grow larger they may become too large for the aquarium or pond. They may also eat any smaller fish in the aquarium or pond which may be an issue to the owner of the fish. This fish is more reliable in a dam or larger water source such as a large pond with more freedom to live and breed. However, there are other breeds of perch such as Golden Perch or the Southern Pigmy Perch which are much smaller breeds and will eat general fish foods rather the other fish with them.

See also


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